by Dan Holland
Patrons of the iconic two-story McDonald’s at 6201 Brecksville Rd. will soon see changes to the property, designed to improve traffic flow and streamline service for the business.
Exterior improvements will include the addition of a second drive-thru lane, a dedicated continuous right-turn lane heading southbound onto Brecksville Road and a restriping of parking spaces to allow for additional vehicle space.
Independence city officials and representatives of McDonald’s discussed the matter at the city’s Oct. 4 planning commission meeting. A variance for 25 parking spaces to allow for 10-by-20-foot parking spaces with a minimum of 82 spaces, down from the original 118, was granted by the commission, contingent on approval from the building official and city engineer and “the cooperation and good faith effort of the applicant regarding the redesign and engineering to install a turn lane within the exit located on Brecksville Road.”
Independence Vice Mayor David Grendel, planning commission chair, said the city is hopeful that the three businesses located at the site, which also includes PNC Bank and The Nest Schools – Independence, will all contribute to the project to improve the overall site. The city will perform all necessary engineering work.
McDonald’s Corporation is tasked with adding the additional drive-thru lane and restriping the parking lot, according to Michele Miller, area construction manager for McDonald’s.
“The city will have to sit down with all three businesses to see if we can get some kind of cooperative agreement between all three – financial and also some right-of-way as well,” said Grendel. “The big thing is that we had the engineering done first, because we’re not quite sure if the utilities will be workable. I think there’s more work that will need to be done by our engineering department before they have a really firm idea of what needs to be done there.”
It is hoped that the work can be completed before year’s end, he added.
“The big thing is that they have to have the work done by the end of the year for corporate to contribute toward or pay most of the construction costs,” said Grendel. “If they don’t have it done by then, it will be on the owners, the franchisees. That’s why they’re working with corporate to get it all approved and hopefully get in underway and done by the end of the year.”
“We are going to attempt to do the work by the end of the year, however, it is getting fairly late in the year to be doing that type of work, so it’s possible that it may not be completed until spring at this point,” commented Miller.
It is hoped that the improvements will allow the business to remain competitive in the city’s retail business district, said Grendel.
“It will streamline their takeout with two separate lines, which is the way almost all McDonald’s are going now,” said Grendel. “It will keep McDonald’s competitive with some of the other area fast-food chains. People from out of town make a point to stop there and take pictures of that McDonald’s location. They’ve done well there, and they’ve been good corporate citizens.” “We look forward to getting the side-by-side drive-thru in there to help manage the traffic flow off the main route and hopefully service our customers better and faster, which will be a good thing,” added Miller.